Slovakia is preparing to transfer Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian Air Force in coordination with the United States.
“We have not yet handed [Ukraine] the MiG-29s. But we are ready to do it. We are talking with our NATO partners about how to do it,” Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Ratislav Káčer told local news agency Interfax Ukraine. “And … we had a very meaningful conversation with [Ukraine’s] president. My defense minister explained to [the Ukrainian] president how we can do this. And I think that, in the coming weeks, a Ukrainian delegation will come to Slovakia, and we will work together with our American friends to make this reality.”
As per Slovakia’s defense ministry, the 24-strong MiG-29 fleet was upgraded in the years 2004-2006, including with NATO-compatible communication and navigation systems. “Slovakia’s 11 remaining MiG-29s will reach the projected end of service life between 2029-2035,” a statement by the ministry says.
The 11 operational MiG-29s were withdrawn from service last August.
Poland offered to transfer the fighters to the U.S. which could then handle their delivery to war-torn Ukraine, but eventually the two allies failed to reach an agreement. Káčer’s statement indicates Slovakia is trying to avoid a similar situation.